A brief karmic history
This is the third crisis episode in the Mendocino National Forest for me in just over a years time. Back in September last year I was caught out in the dark on Horse Mountain and had to be rescued in the middle of the night. Then this spring I spun off the road way up by High Glade and was hopelessly stuck. I managed to get out. Having hiked and climbed mountains around the state for many years and had few mishaps but I was a bit on guard this time on a planned trip to Goat Mountain`in the Mendocino N.F..
Not Getting to Goat Mountain
Stuck on Long Ridge
I had it all planned. Weather, road conditions, van conditions and checked with the ranger station as well. I was going to drive the mountain roads up to Goat Mountain 6,121' up in the heights of the Coast Range in the Mendocino Nat. Forest on a beautiful day.
I had googled the route but had to make some adjustments. I was told all the roads to Goat were 2 wheel drive. It would be a few hours drive on good back country roads all the way. I'd been wanting to get to this peak for quite some time since it was one of the higher and more prominent peaks in the area.
Everything was going OK. I stopped to ask some campers a few direction questions down by Bear Creek which was deep in the forest about half way to Goat Mountain. I found the road up Long Ridge that I was to take and headed up beyond Bear Creek.
After a mile or so it started to get hairy. There were deep ruts in the road and pretty soon it was looking to be 4WD. I was questioning the rangers advice about 2 wheel. I was managing to get along and got to a clearing before another climb. I paused and looked up the steep rutted climb ahead. This is where I should have stopped and turned around. Up I went. Couldn't believe I was this crazy but made it up dancing and skip spinning along the crest of the ruts until I get to a big tree fallen across the road. Backing down what I just came up looked pretty risky so I decided to turn around if possible. It was really narrow. I would have to crush into some heavy shrubbery to get it turned around. It was really tight. I backed up, then the attempt forward turned into a traction spin out. I had dug deep into the shoulder.
There was no cell phone reception for miles.
I'd been here before and always trancended the situation by getting proactive and doggedly staying the practical course at hand.
It looked like a workable predicament requiring some time and elbow grease. For about 3 hours I dug and scraped and sweated and stirred up tons of dust. Finally after jacking it up with a puny little jack 5 times and digging hard dirt with a tire iron (all I had) to get a piece of wood under the tire etc. etc....I just gave up. My hands were bloody and I was physically and emotionally pooped. It was late afternoon. It would be a warm night. I had enough food and water to get though so I settled in.
A very quiet evening
Hull Mtn. from Long Ridge
Evening view north from the van
I would not be comfortable tonight but at least it was warm and I had some stuff to read and I meditated as well. At this point I planned to chill, get some rest. In the morning I would hike on out back down to Bear Creek where people might be to help me. All I wanted to do was get out of the mountains and get home. I would deal with the van later. It was so quiet and beautiful out there at 3,200' on the ridge. Could occasionally hear a distant jet engine way off above. I sort of forgot about the situation and just relaxed for the night.
Getting outa there.
Bear Creek campground
Snow Mtn. from Long Ridge
At morning I packed the backpack and hiked 3 miles back down to the camp ground hoping to find those campers but they were gone. I was 15 or 20 miles deep into the forest with half a sandwich a cliff bar and a liter of water with no cell and totally dependent on people help!
I just decided to plop down by the road and wait for someone to come by. Pretty soon my good fortune came around the corner in the form of a hunter named Kevin who rolled up in a big Ram 4X4! I signaled and he pulled over.
Kevin: "What's up?"
Me: "I gotta a van stuck up on the ridge."
Kevin "Hop in. I got a rope lets go see if we can get it out!"
What good luck! I was just hoping to FIND somebody even to initiate my escape that day!
Kevin was an experience locally dude would knew the area well. He told me the road I took was not the one I should have which was pretty obvious. He also couldn't believe I made it as far as I did! We got the van out without much difficulty. Wow! What a relief! I thanked him profusely but wait...the right front tire is almost flat! I had some Fix-a- flat to get me out of the hills. So we took off. Careening back down that nasty road with Kevin spotting me from behind until I got off the ridge. I was out and back home by early afternoon.
Coulda shoulda, woulda
Sunset from the van
Kevin to the rescue
Ok, ok I should have been more, I could have.. I would have... but I did stay cool and let grace take over. My dogged creature power was not going to get me out this time. It was a beautiful evening too!
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